10 mistakes startups make when talking to users

Most startups know the golden rule for success: Talk to your users. One popular method of doing so is running online surveys. Survata has run consumer surveys for numerous startups to help them understand people’s opinions and behaviors.

When you run a survey, it is important avoid the common mistakes that can reduce or even negate the value of survey results. To help you write effective survey questions, we compiled a list of the most frequent errors our startup clients make when writing surveys. Avoid these pitfalls, and start talking to those users!

1.) Leading questions

What it means: Embedding an opinion or information into a question that suggests the user should answer a certain way

Mistake: Leading question
Improved

2.) Subjective units

What it means: Requiring the user to interpret descriptive unit labels

Mistake: Subjective units
Improved

3.) Excessive granularity

What it means: Asking the user to recall information at unrealistic levels of detail

Mistake: Excessive granularity
Improved

4.) Unbalanced scales

What it means: Putting answer choices on a scale that tilts in one direction

Mistake: Unbalanced scales
Improved

5.) Double-barreled questions

What it means: Addressing more than one issue in a question

Mistake: double-barreled question
Improved (Only “interested” respondents proceed to Question 2)

6.) Unnatural units

What it means: Asking the user to recall information in a way that does not match his/her memory structure

Mistake: Unnatural units
Improved

7.) Lack of mutual exclusivity

What it means: Having overlap in your answer choices, so a user doesn’t know how to mark the answer

Mistake: Lack of mutual exclusivity
Improved (Removed redundant “Every few hours” option)

8.) Lack of comprehensive exhaustiveness

What it means: Not covering all possible answers

Mistake: Lack of comprehensive exhaustiveness
Improved

9.) Phrasing to format mismatch

What it means: Prohibiting the user from answering as the question implies s/he should (e.g. limiting the user to one answer when multiple are requested)

Mistake: Phrasing to format mismatch
Improved

10.) Deadwood

What it means: Including words that add no information

Mistake: Deadwood
Improved

Have you come across any other survey writing mistakes? Send them to us – we’ll share our ever-expanding list.

Good luck with your next survey, and keep talking to users!

Inspired to run your own mistake-free survey? Check out Survata today.